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Marine Drive to Marina Bay Sands

Posted on Monday, January 25, 2016

Riya Sen, who is pursuing a BInfTech at James Cook University (JCU), Singapore, on why she chose the island city-state as her higher education destination

After completing a three-year Diploma in Computer Technology from Vidyavardhini’s Bhausaheb Vartak Polytechnic under Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education right after my class X, I decided to pursue my Bachelor’s at JCU, Singapore (owned by James Cook University, Australia).

The thought of pursuing my further studies in Singapore was unrealistic in the beginning. However, after thoroughly researching the institutes I was interested in joining, I chose to study at JCU because it gave me the option to finish my course in two years instead of the usual three years. Moreover, I also got to choose my desired major, which is computing and networking. I wrote their scholarship exam (JCU Singapore offer scholarships of up to 50% of the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree tuition fee) which had questions based on antonyms, sentence completion, mathematics and general knowledge. The paper-based two-hour test mostly consisted of multiple choice questions. I scored well and the university awarded me a 25% scholarship. 
The fast-track degree programme has proven to be very beneficial for me. A fast-track course basically means three trimesters a year and the vacations are cut short. The curriculum consists of core modules (concerned with your major) and electives such as programming, networking, database modelling, human computer interaction, data mining, etc. The associate dean of information technology section and other members of the staff help you select modules for your first trimester along with different time slot options for some subjects. The best part about the modules is that you are required to do your own research for the assignments. In this way, you achieve a lot as you get to learn and understand different aspects of IT along with the help of the lecturers.
The course is hectic but familiarises you with the practical work, assignment deadlines and the pressure of working within a short span of time. All this has increased my efficiency and keeps me busy every trimester. The campus is diverse with people from different countries. It is interesting to meet new people and get to know their cultures and background. Joining activity clubs of my interest has kept me energetic.
The newspapers and the surveys don’t lie when they say Singapore is one of the expensive places to live in. Since I come from an Indian middle class family, I avoid unnecessary expenditure; yet it is tempting to go out and have fun. Personal expenses vary from person to person; I have a friend who spends SGD 250 per week and then there is me, who spends SGD 300-350 for every month mostly on food and transport. The rent I currently pay for my accommodation is SGD 700 per month, so in totality I spend SGD 1,000 to SGD 1,050 monthly. Singapore is indeed beautiful. The people are super friendly, and you will find the cleanliness overwhelming. The food is really diverse and appetising. Be it Marina Bay Sands, Sentosa Beach, or ClarkQuay Bridge, you can come out here with your group of friends and take a break from your busy life. In short, you can balance out your social and study life with proper planning and organisation. 


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